DNA damage induces targeted, genome-wide variation of poly(A) sites in budding yeast.

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Genome Res 2013 Oct; 23(10):1690-703.




Systemic response to DNA damage and other stresses is a complex process that includes changes in the regulation and activity of nearly all stages of gene expression. One gene regulatory mechanism used by eukaryotes is selection among alternative transcript isoforms that differ in polyadenylation [poly(A)] sites, resulting in changes either to the coding sequence or to portions of the 3' UTR that govern translation, stability, and localization. To determine the extent to which this means of regulation is used in response to DNA damage, we conducted a global analysis of poly(A) site usage in Saccharomyces cerevisiae after exposure to the UV mimetic, 4-nitroquinoline 1-oxide (4NQO). Two thousand thirty-one genes were found to have significant variation in poly(A) site distributions following 4NQO treatment, with a strong bias toward loss of short transcripts, including many with poly(A) sites located within the protein coding sequence (CDS). We further explored one possible mechanism that could contribute to the widespread differences in mRNA isoforms. The change in poly(A) site profile was associated with an inhibition of cleavage and polyadenylation in cell extract and a decrease in the levels of several key subunits in the mRNA 3'-end processing complex. Sequence analysis identified differences in the cis-acting elements that flank putatively suppressed and enhanced poly(A) sites, suggesting a mechanism that could discriminate between variable and constitutive poly(A) sites. Our analysis indicates that variation in mRNA length is an important part of the regulatory response to DNA damage. Genome Res 2013 Oct; 23(10):1690-703.